December 9 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print

11-CHRISTMAS-CRIB

Look for, and find, Faith inspiration during Advent and beyond

This week's SCO editorial.

As we prepare spiritually, and practically, for the joy of Christ’s birth it is difficult sometimes to keep sight of what is truly important. Somehow, without even realising it, spending hand over fist on that ‘must have’ gift for a junior member of the family takes precedence over spending a few moments talking after Mass to a fellow parishioner or looking in on an elderly neighbour in the bad weather.

And then there are the issues that challenge our Faith: sectarianism, redefining marriage, verbal attacks on Catholic schools, physical attacks on churches—all symptoms exacerbated by the wider issue of secularisation in our society. Sometimes, though, we reach saturation point and it seems too hard to fight the good fight when faced with this onslaught. We stand aside, keeping our heads down, hoping it will pass us by, hoping someone else will take up the challenge. After all, there are Christmas cards to write. Perhaps though, that way of thinking is how we, as Scottish Catholics, find ourselves in the position we are in today.

After today it is too late to take part in the Catholic Church’s postcard campaign responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on redefining marriage, but it is not too late to add one or two to your Christmas card list. A card to your MP or MSP expressing your view on current issues along with your season’s greetings is a simple way of ticking that box. Think of it as part of your Advent preparations.

Walking into a parish as a visitor can be a daunting but exhilarating experience, one many of us face at this time of year when travelling to see family and friends at Christmas. Tight-knit parish communities are the backbone of the Church but it is always pleasing to see a visitor made welcome, say, perhaps, by a passkeeper handing out hymn books, or a kindly parishioner with a few sweeties for the younger members of the congregation.

Then there are those times when you attend Mass in a Church other than your own and think ‘yes, this is what a Catholic parish should be.’

St Paul’s Parish in Shettleston, Glasgow (see page 5 of this week’s SCO) is one such parish. With four well-attended Sunday Masses (including the Saturday vigil)—two of which are dedicated to youth—it should not come a surprise to see mature teenagers taking part in the Mass as Eucharistic ministers, nor to hear the church youth organising a cinema outing via facebook. What a bustling, alive parish, and that is before even looking at Catholic men’s and women’s groups, the older parishioners who fill in as altar servers when the younger ones are at school, or the many community groups which use the church halls, including the architecturally acclaimed Cube.

Instead, however, of feeling parish envy, why not take inspiration from Fr John Campbell and St Paul’s, as to what can be achieved at parish level. Not every parish has the facilities of St Paul’s, but every parish has the potential to get its congregation involved.

Comments - One Response

  1. Wonderful, what a website it is! This blog gives helpful facts to us, keep it up.

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